A history of the "the Democratic Party has been hijacked by extremists" argument
Same as it ever was.
Digging through old newspapers is one of my favorite hobbies. I just love what they can tell us about not just the past, but the present and the future, as well. I follow Twitter accounts like Pessimists Archive and Yesterday’s Print, keep up with historians on Twitter, and of course, keep an active newspapers.com subscription up and running.
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that I took a bit of inspiration from Seth Cotlar, who teaches history at Willamette University, and his Twitter thread about discourse over whether or not the Democratic Party has moved “too far to the left.”
Cotlar was responding to a tweet from richest-man-on-the-planet-and-potential-owner-of-Twitter Elon Musk, who wrote, “I strongly supported Obama for President, but today’s Democratic Party has been hijacked by extremists.”
The point being made by Cotlar in his thread is that such claims have been made throughout history, usually taking the form of poorly argued and factually challenged claims. I wanted to use today’s newsletter as an opportunity to argue back against the idea by simply highlighting how far back this “the Democratic Party has been hijacked by extremists!” language goes.
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The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana), October 9, 2012
Record Searchlight (Redding, California) June 28, 2004
Marshfield News-Herald (Marshfield, Wisconsin), January 4, 2004
The Modesto Bee, August 2, 2000
The Spokesman-Review, June 7, 2000
Chicago Tribune, March 9, 1998
Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, North Carolina), February 23, 1991
Pensacola News Journal, July 15, 1984
The Desert Sun, July 5, 1974
The Winona Daily News, September 27, 1972 (via AP)
Chicago Tribune, November 6, 1965
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